Intel and Kraft Foods have introduced a 'smart' vending machine in US, which analysis buyer's age and gender to tailor the products to the shoppers.
The iSample is being used to offer customers trials of a new dessert and the makers of this machine intend to retrofit the technology to existing vending machines.
AdvertisementPrimarily aimed at adult-focused promotion, the machine allows companies to study what types of people are buying their products.
An optical sensor fitted to the top of the machine to identify the shape of the human face. A computer processor then carries out a series of calculations based on measurements such as the distance between the eyes, nose and ears.
These are used to settle on the sex of the shopper and place them in one of four age brackets. This data is then used to decide what, if any, product the shopper should be served.
"It's actually very quick - it's a fraction of a second," the BBC quoted Michelle Tinsley, Intel's general manager of personal solutions as saying.
"We have trained the software to do this via machine learning on a bunch of pictures of human faces."
"It does the calculations very quickly right there on the machine - it does not need to go off into the internet or cloud - and then based on that will recognise that you fit a certain demographic."
Intel emphasized that the machine does not take any photographs or video, so it does not offer any footage for hackers to steal or employees to misuse.
Kraft is using the devices to trial Temptations - a jelly-based dessert. The product is marketed as 'the first Jell-O that's just for adults', so if the machine detects a child it asks them to step away.
According to Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovations and consumer experiences at Kraft, the definitive goal for the company is to bring value to both, retailers and brands.
"Our ultimate goal is to bring value to both our retailers and our brands by better understanding consumer engagement with our products," Kaczmarek said.
"We can do so much more with the iSample program. Tied to specific marketing campaigns, we can customise the experience in order to reach out to consumers more efficiently," Kaczmarek added.